Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Who's for a Dirty Weekend? Guest Post Deirdre Palmer

It's always a pleasure to have returning guests on my blog. Today, it's the turn of my good friend and author, Deirdre Palmer. It isn't just Deirdre who is making a second appearance though - her two great books, Dirty Weekend and Moonshine (both set in the 60s) are also having another outing. Check out their fabulous new covers! 

If you haven't already read Deirdre's novels, I'll let her tell you a little more about them. Over to you, Deirdre.

When Wendy heard I was re-launching two of my books, she kindly invited me onto her blog to spread the word. Thanks, Wendy!

They say ‘write what you know’ and that was the advice I had in mind when I wrote Dirty Weekend. It’s also said that if you remember the sixties, you weren’t there. Well, I was there, and I do remember, which made this book a whole lot of fun to write!

Dirty Weekend was taken up by my publisher at the time, and looked after very well, as was Moonshine later. Recently, with the future of those books with the publisher looking uncertain, I took the difficult decision to liberate them from their contracts and send them back into the world with a fresh new look. The stories might be set in the 1960s but the problems that face the characters are universal and just as relevant today.

Without giving away too much of the plot, in Dirty Weekend, Jeanette doesn’t see the weekend in Brighton as just a bit of fun. For her it’s an escape from the unspoken horrors of her home-life. In Moonshine, Beverly’s first experience of unrequited love sends her emotions and actions into free-fall, almost wrecking the holiday on a Torbay caravan site. Also in Moonshine, an unexpected find on a removals job pitches Terry into agonies of indecision when he learns that doing ‘the right thing’ is never that straightforward.

But it’s not all gloom, far from it. Themes of friendship, loyalty, love and sex, run through both books, and there’s a whole lot of laughter, too. At least, I hope my readers find plenty to laugh at!

Here’s a taster from Dirty Weekend.  The grim reality of arriving in Brighton without booking a B&B beforehand has just struck home…

“The room was fantastically grim, Mark thought, looking about. For a start, it was up four flights of creaky stairs and slotted in under the eaves so that you couldn’t stand up in the parts where the ceiling sloped down. The bed was missing a leg and had a fishing tackle box supporting the fourth corner, and the bedspread thing thrown over the blankets must once have had a pattern on it but had migrated into a murky mixture of oranges and browns with no distinction between the two. As for the mattress, well, he didn’t even want to think about that, let alone take a butcher’s at it. He couldn’t see any actual dirt anywhere, but everything in the room was so worn out it must have pre-dated the D-Day landings.
Remembering Terry’s prior claim to this room as his and Carol-Anne’s love-nest, Mark laughed to himself. Terry seemed not to have noticed the state of the place, or if he did, he didn’t care. He definitely hadn’t spotted the fishing tackle box, but there was no point in bringing it up now.
Yes, on balance, he approved of Terry’s version of tonight’s sleeping arrangements. The girls’ room across the road in Pier View was probably a damn sight better than this one – it could hardly be worse – so all he’d have to worry about, providing Jeanette didn’t take it into her head to spoil the party, was getting into Pier View and up those stairs without having his collar felt by the landlady.”
© Deirdre Palmer 2015

Dirty Weekend and Moonshine are available from Amazon.

Deirdre is the author of seven novels and a collection of short stories, writing under her own name and as Zara Thorne.  She is published by Crooked Cat Books, and independently. 

To find out more about Deirde, visit her website

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Choosing the Right Path

At some stage in our writing career, we're likely to come to a fork in the road. A  place where we have to make decisions. Most of the time, these will be small ones: Should I call my protagonist Katie or Ella? Should I write another chapter of my novel or write a magazine story? Would it really matter if I spent the day writing in my dressing gown? 

When this happens, we'll take a little detour and then find our way back to that familiar road.

But, just sometimes, we might see a new path. One which is less defined - its edges overgrown and its destinations hazy. It's seductive. Seductive because it's new. Different. At the same time, its unfamiliarity scares us. 

We look at that path and compare it to the one we're on. This path is comfortable. It's wide and we know where it's going because we've been down it many times before. Why not stay on it? 

It's safe. 

It's familiar.

But then a voice says... take that chance. You might not know it yet but between the weeds on its margins, wild orchids may be growing - orchids you've never seen before. At the end of that new untrodden path, there might also be a rainbow. Who knows until you go down it?

Once, while walking Bonnie, I found myself at this waymark. I could have taken my usual route but something made me stop and think. Why not take the unfamiliar route? It might be longer but, who knows, it might be better.

So I took the path less trodden and, though wild, it was beautiful. That was in February 2012 - the very day I learnt that the school I was teaching in was going to close. It was the year my life changed and I became a writer. I never regretted taking that path. 

This week, Bonnie and I found a field with waist-high meadow grass. A path snaked through it and it was enticing but I was wearing walking sandals and there were thistles and brambles. Eventually, it was Bonnie who decided to take that tiny track through the grass and I followed. 

If I hadn't, I wouldn't have found this. 

Is it any wonder my all time favourite poem is The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost?

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both...

Sometimes when we come to that fork in the road we have to make difficult choices. The next time, I won't hesitate... I'll know which path I'll follow.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Ooh... Look at Me!

I look a bit serious, don't I? This is my 'I must concentrate or I'll get it wrong' face. I'd like to tell you that I'm in a recording studio narrating one of my story collections for Audible... but I cannot lie. I was in fact taking part in a demonstration of how to narrate as part of an afternoon talk at Horsham Library. The event was called 'Audiobook secrets' and was part of Love Audio week. It was put on by Harper Collins and audio book publishers, W F Howes. 

It was writing chum Tracy Fells who suggested we went along (she likes to drag me out of the house at regular intervals) and I wasn't sure at first. I don't actually listen to audio books, preferring to read them in print, but then I remembered my husband listens to audio narrations every day on his hour drive to (and back from) work. He'd be interested to know how a book gets from print and into his car and I could report back.

So along we went to said library, not really knowing what to expect... but it was great!

For a start, I got to meet the lovely Katerina Diamond, author of the thriller 'The Teacher', who talked about her path to success. Apparently, she started off by writing film scripts but wasn't brave enough to do anything with them. Then luck shone on her when she won an opening chapter competition. This excerpt was to become the opening chapter of The Teacher. The prize was to finish the novel and be introduced to an agent. Unfortunately (for the agent as it turned out) they didn't like the end result but, undaunted, Katerina took it elsewhere and it was snapped up by agent, Diane Banks.

I also won a novel opening competition... hmm.

We then had a talk by professional narrator, Antonia Beamish. Before she was a book narrator, Antonia was an actress (playing Rita in Educating Rita for a European tour) but, before that, she ran off with a circus. Yes really! Apart from her lovely clear voice, what made the audio companies love Antonia was her skill with accents. As the only accent I can do is the one I was born with, I know that narration would not really be my thing! Antonia is the narrator for all of Katerina's novels, she read an extract from one of them and we were instantly transported.

We had coffee and cupcakes and then sound engineer, Lewis Hampson, asked if any of us would like to have a go at narrating. It involved reading a paragraph into a microphone, Lewis would do something clever at his end and then it would be played back to us. I just had to have a go. Of course everyone was listening, so I just had to pretend they were a class full of children otherwise I would have stammered and stuttered. When it was played back, it was actually perfectly okay but don't you just hate listening to your own voice?

All in all, it was a fabulous event. We had fun, we learnt a lot, we got a complimentary book of Katerina's to take home and it was free! What wasn't there to like. A big thank you to everyone involved.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Fancy a Writing Week in Tuscany?

Oh my goodness! How good would it be to go on a writing course in this beautiful Tuscan mill? Well, if you're free from 11th - 18th September this year, you can do just that on a course called 'Write Away in Tuscany'. Angela Petch is offering her wonderful home in the hills to writers for a glorious week of writing, good food and amazing scenery (sorry for using so many adjectives but it's hard not to after looking at all the photographs). Sadly, I won't be able to attend, as I'll be off on my annual holiday in Greece that week, but it looks absolutely wonderful. So wonderful, in fact, that I asked Angela whether she would share some information about this fabulous offer.

Hi, Angela. Thank you so much for doing this interview at short notice. The course sounds wonderful - can you tell us whereabouts in Italy it will be held?

In and around our converted watermill, situated along the River Marecchia in eastern Tuscany, up in the Apennines.  It’s a very unspoiled area and even our Italian friends describe it as “real Italy”.

It looks stunning. Is the course suitable for both new and experienced writers?

Take a look at the course our lovely (and experienced) creative writing tutor has drawn up. Sonja Price has taught for over twenty years. There’s something for all writers. I think we never stop learning our craft.
The course
Novelist and creative writing tutor Sonja Price will be offering six morning sessions to cover the following:

  • How to create credible and interesting characters.
  • Settings to enhance and propel your story. Conjuring up the familiar and the exotic.
  • The art of dialogue as taken from playwriting. Making every spoken word serve a purpose.
  • Plot and story. Creating scenes, maintaining suspense, the story arc, beginnings and endings.
  • Polishing your language. How to edit and cut. Getting published: writing a synopsis, blurb and pitching your book. Agents, publishers v. self-publishing.
  • Extras: techniques, ideas - from head to paper, writers’ block, structuring your time, social media for writers.

I was lucky to host Sonja Price as a guest on Wendy's Writing Now last year. I'm sure she'll be a great tutor and the course covers a lot of interesting areas. How many attendees are you hoping to have?

We have four firm bookings already. I will close the number at ten. I want everybody who comes to receive the individual attention they need.

Your home, where the writing course will take place, sounds idyllic. Can you tell us about the mill and the accommodation?

Records for Il Mulino go back to the 12th century. We restored it twenty years ago. A dream come true for us. We now let it out to holidaymakers and many of our guests return. The three rooms in the mill are already booked. We live in a stable nearby, which we converted in our acre of land that we’ve landscaped into a wildlife area. I mix wild flowers with cultivated and gather cuttings and seeds. All done on a strict budget. It’s more fun like that. I remember friends and places when the plants grow.

There is lots of information and more photos of Il Mulino and this special area on our own website:

Anybody who books from now on, will be accommodated in a pretty agriturismo (or country guest house), within walking distance. All the rooms at Il Casalone are en suite and beautifully appointed. The owners are Teresa (who speaks English) and Alberto (our mayor). Teresa’s father is also a famous truffle hunter and I’m sure we’ll be taken on a hunt in the woods. His claim to fame is that he showed Prince Charles! We shall also be enjoying one of Teresa’s scrumptious meals in her restaurant.

You can read the Tripadvisor comments here

So it seems there will be some delicious food to look forward to.

But of course! Italians live to eat and not the other way around! All meals, snacks and drinks are included in the course price of £650, except for two meals we’ll eat out during the week, including at our village pizzeria. Our area is famous for its cucina. People travel from miles to buy local meat from our butchers;  the sheep farmers up the mountain make cheese, the vegetables are to die for. My husband has a productive vegetable garden and there is nothing like eating one of his tomatoes fresh and sun-kissed. I could easily become vegetarian in Italy: aubergines, peppers, chicory, beans, artichokes…don’t get me started.

You've made me feel hungry! Please could you give a breakdown of a typical day on the course.

Most mornings will start with sessions, as described earlier. Afternoons are free for writing or one-to-one sessions with our tutor, Sonja.  As well as writing, there is the river to laze by, with its refreshing pools. There are plenty of walks too and one of my favourites is to an almost deserted hilltop village called Montebotolino, which features in both of my Tuscan novels. PHOTO
We have also planned a couple of outings to Arezzo and Sansepolcro - ancient towns that should inspire ideas. Transport is also included in the price as we are quite remote, and our chauffeuring services will be necessary. We also include airport transfer, on prior arrangement.

I’m sure we’re all wondering how you come to be living half of the year in England and the other half in this fabulous area of Italy?

Both Maurice and I have Italy under the skin. I lived in Rome as a child and started my love affair with Italy at the age of seven. My husband is half Italian. His mother was a war bride, having fallen in love with a handsome English army captain. We were lucky to meet each other in Sicily where we were both working in the 70’s. We never imagined that one day we’d own a beautiful watermill in Tuscany – we’d only managed camping holidays in Italy when our three children were small. I think we’ve been blessed. We’ve had to work hard but we’ve also been lucky.

It is getting more complicated nowadays to arrange our six-monthly escape from England, as we have four young grandchildren now and another due early August. But flights with a certain airline are not too expensive. I’m returning to England to help my daughter with her baby mid-July, and I’m combining it with my first RNA Conference in Leeds, where our youngest daughter lives. I can’t wait.

Angela Petch has written two novels, inspired by Italy and her Italian mother-in-law’s stories. They are available on Amazon. Until earlier this year they were published by Endeavour Press, but she has returned to self-publishing while she makes her mind up about how to proceed.

You can buy Angela's Tuscan novel TUSCAN ROOTS here: Amazon

Her second novel, NOW AND THEN IN TUSCANY can be bought here: Amazon

In the past months, Angela has also had stories published in PRIMA magazine and The People’s Friend.

If you are interested in booking a place on Angela's writing course, please get in touch with her through one of the links below.

You can find her on Facebook 
Twitter: @Angela_Petch
And she is always looking for new followers to her blog 

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Sorry - Am I Boring You?

Have you ever been caught by one of those people who insist on shoving an album of their holiday photos in front of your nose and then rambling on for the next hour about how wonderful their trip was?

Well, I might be in danger of becoming one of those very people. I can't help it - I just can't! When I discover somewhere I love, I want to tell everyone about it, share my photos and say, "But why haven't you been there?"

In the interest of keeping the readers of this blog happy, I shall try to keep it short but there might just be a touch of over-enthusiasm from time to time. Sorry!

So where am I? Yes, you've guessed it. I'm back in my beloved Lake District - the setting of many of my People's Friend stories and also the setting of my second novel. One day, I hope you will get to read it. Actually, you will definitely get to read it as, come hell or high water, and whether it be through a traditional publisher or self-published, I will get this novel out into the wide world.

Whenever we stay in The Lakes, we take our dog, Bonnie, with us. Apart from one year, we've always stayed in one of the little miner's cottages in the village of Chapel Stile (this is where the family in my novel live too). This year, we were a bit concerned that Bonnie (who is twelve and a little arthritic) might not be able to manage the 8 or 9 miles of walking we were planning to do each day. We needn't have worried though as she appeared completely rejuvenated by the Lakeland air. Always in the lead, she splashed in rivers, scrambled over boulders and probably would have herded up the sheep if we hadn't stopped her! Cue cute photo of lambs.

We have a list of our favourite walks, and every time we holiday in the Lake District, we like to revisit four of these and then add on two new ones. We don't do high level walks but beautiful low or medium level ones with stunning views such as this one at Buttermere. I must admit, I'm pretty proud of this photo.

One place I've been wanting to visit for ages is Cathedral Quarry. It features a lot in the novel but I've never actually been there - just researched it online. Once inside, it made me realise that nothing can ever beat seeing the real thing. The quarry is reached through a tunnel which opens up into a forty foot chamber called 'the Cathedral'. Those more adventurous than me can take a torch and explore the other tunnels... but I prefer to see a bit of daylight.

As usual, when we weren't exploring, we were eating. We discovered a wonderful vegetarian restaurant in Ambleside, called Fellinis, whose dishes looked as if they should grace an art book. It was linked to the local cinema so we took advantage of their combined meal and cinema offer and followed our delicious meal with a viewing of the film The Literary Potato Peel Pie Society. I'd been interested in seeing is at my People's Friend serial, Charlotte's War was also set during WW2 in Guernsey. I'm ashamed to say our long walk that day, a big meal and a glass of wine got the better of me and I might just have closed my eyes once or twice.

We also liked to stop off somewhere on our walk for afternoon tea. Well, it would be rude not to wouldn't it. This might be the reason we always come back the same weight as we leave, despite all the exercise!

My husband and I hated saying goodbye to The Lakes at the end of our holiday but I know it won't be long until we return. In the meantime, I have already written and submitted my latest Lake District inspired story to my editor at the People's Friend and hope he enjoys reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Which leads me onto writing news. Since I last posted, my stories have been published in these three magazines.

Also, I am The People's Friends 'Writer of the Week' and have been interviewed for their website. If you'd like to read it, you can find it here.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Still a Woolies Girl at Heart - Guest Post Elaine Everest

Today, I am delighted to welcome the lovely Elaine Everest back to my blog. I still remember how kind Elaine was to me when I first joined the RNA - taking me under her wing at the conference, introducing me to a host of people and always being there to answer my random questions about writing and the publishing world. Since then, Elaine has become the very successful author of her 'Woolworths' series and her latest book, Wartime at Woolworths, is in the shops now.  I decided to ask Elaine a few questions about her writing and, I have to say, there were one or two surprises in her answers!

The ‘Woolworths Girls’ series is set during the second world war. What drew you to that period?

I grew up listening to my mother talking about the war years. She was a child at the time and even though her family lived close to the banks of the River Thames in Kent she wasn’t evacuated. As a child they fascinated me and when I married and purchased a house, in Erith where my Woolies series is set, that had survived WW2 my interest grew.

When you wrote the first novel did you know it would become a series?

No I didn’t. I’d written a standalone book but readers took the girls to their hearts and my publisher suggested we try another, and another… Wartime at Woolworths is the fourth in the series, if we include the E-book novella Carols at Woolworths, and there’s one more to follow in November.

Is anything in your novels based on a real-life experience?

It has to be every scene in Ruby’s house in Alexandra Road in Erith. Number thirteen is the house I purchased along with my now husband on Maundy Thursday 1972. We lived there for twenty years and I’d go back in a flash if I could. At that time there were people who had been born in the road of bay-fronted terraced houses and told such wonderful tales of the close community. Did you know that poet, Wendy Cope, lived in the road at one time when her parents were managers in the department store Hedley Mitchell? In my mind I can see the house as it would have been before the trend for ‘through lounges’ and removal of chimneybreasts. I can see Ruby putting the kettle on in the original kitchen and the air-raid shelter where Sarah gave birth to Georgina. They are like ghosts in a house that still stands in Alexandra road. I’ve been told that people have been seen stopping to look at the house. I apologise for the new windows we had put in after a horrendous fire there back in 1988 – they seemed a good idea at the time.

Do you think it’s easier to write a series than a standalone novel?

I’m not sure about any book being easy to write. There is more planning in a series, as we need to tell a complete story but then be able to pick up the threads of the friends and throw more at them in the next book. I’m aware that some readers will not have read the earlier books so it is important not to give anything away about earlier stories, which can be hard sometimes. I found introducing new characters each time also kept the books alive. Some are transient characters but then a few, like Gwyneth and Mike Jackson, demanded to remain.

What was your favourite chapter to write and why?

It has to be the prologue, as I love to give a hint of what is to come and tease my readers. Wartime at Woolworths does have a few heart breaking scenes and I did my best to treat the situations with sensitivity, as I know that my readers’ and their relatives could have faced the same situations. In my book there is a time to laugh and a time to cry.

You used to be a Woolworths girl yourself – do you have any funny anecdotes of your time there?

I recall the day that I played truant from my Saturday job. Along with my mates we worked half day, telling the staff manager that we had a ‘school trip’ in the afternoon. With our pay packets burning a hole in our pockets we jumped on a train in Dartford and headed to London to visit Carnaby Street. It was 1969 and we had great fun but made sure to return home at the same time, as we would have done if we’d worked all day. For some reason my friend, Amanda, travelled home sitting in the luggage rack. Thanks to social media we made contact recently. She now lives in Australia and the years disappeared as we chatted about our childhood.

Is there any particular book, or author, that has influenced your writing?

I’d have to say it is Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I wanted to be Josephine March so much that I would write plays and have my siblings and friends play the parts. Even as a child I was a fan of musicals so would throw in a song or two.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

I was going to say I catch up on my reading but instead will say ‘read more’ as I never stop reading. I enjoy the garden but I’m no gardener. I leave that to my husband although I do like to supervise and visit the garden centre to purchase more plants. I also have my writing school to oversee and I’m always planning lessons and projects for the talented writers.

What project are you working on now?

I recently filed A Gift from Woolworths with my editor, Caroline Hogg, at Pan Macmillan. This will be published in November.  Already I’m working on a book for May 2019. It is a step away from Woolworths as we head to the Kent coast and Lyons Teashops and I hope readers will take my new ‘girls’ to their hearts as much as they have Sarah, Maisie, Freda and their families. 

Any advice for budding authors?

Don’t be in a hurry to be published. Read books, which are currently on sale in your chosen genre. Take feedback on the chin and be brave.

Many thanks for visiting my blog today, Elaine.

About Elaine

Elaine Everest, author of Bestselling novels The Woolworths Girls, The Butlins Girls & Christmas at Woolworths was born and brought up in North West Kent, where many of her books are set. She has been a freelance writer for twenty years and has written widely for women's magazines and national newspapers, with both short stories and features. Her non-fiction books for dog owners have been very popular and led to broadcasting on radio about our four legged friends. Elaine has been heard discussing many topics on radio from canine subjects to living with a husband under her feet when redundancy looms.
When she isn't writing, Elaine runs The Write Place creative writing school at The Howard Venue in Hextable, Kent and has a long list of published students.

Elaine lives with her husband, Michael, and their Polish Lowland Sheepdog, Henry, in Swanley, Kent and is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, The Crime Writers Association, The Society of Women Writers & Journalists and The Society of Authors as well as Slimming World where she can often be found sitting in the naughty corner.

Twitter: @elaineeverest

About Wartime at Woolworths:

The Woolworths girls have come a long way together . . .
Fun loving Maisie, is devoted to her young family and her work at Woolworths. But her happy life with her RAF officer husband, their baby daughter leads her to think of the family she left behind . . . With the war now into its fourth year, what will she find when she sets about searching for them?
Sarah and her husband, Alan, are blissfully happy and long for a sibling for their daughter. But dark days lay ahead for this close family. Freda heads home to Birmingham, to go in search of her family, back to the life she fled – far from the safety of Woolworths and her new friends.
With families’ separated by war, will the Woolworths girls be able to pull together?
Wartime at Woolworths is the fourth moving instalment in the much-loved Woolworths series by bestselling author Elaine Everest.
‘A warm, tender tale of friendship and love’  Milly Johnson
‘Heartwarming . . . a must-read’  Woman’s Own

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Did Someone Say Ghost? - Guest Post Natalie Kleinman

Natalie Kleinman is my blog guest this week. Natalie was one of the very first guests on Wendy's Writing Now back in 2014 so I'm delighted to be welcoming her back. Natalie's Regency romance, The Ghost of Glendale, will be published on 25th April and I wanted to find out a little more about the novella and also about her writing life.

We’re stuck in a lift. You have two minutes to persuade me to buy The Ghost of Glendale before help arrives. Ready, steady, go!

Phoebe Marcham is twenty-four years old and resigned to spinsterhood, unwilling to settle for anything less than the deep love her parents had shared. Then Duncan Armstrong rides into her home and into her heart, larger than life and with laughter in his eyes and more charm in his little finger than anyone she’s ever met before. The French Revolution is history and he’s been travelling on the Continent, indulging his love of historical artefacts and enlarging his collection. Home now, his thirst for adventure hasn’t abated and, far from ridiculing her family ghost, Duncan resolves to help Phoebe solve the mystery which has left Simon Marcham a spirit in torment for two hundred years.

The Ghost of Glendale is a Regency novella, what attracted you to this period in history?

Oh that’s an easy one. I was weaned on Georgette Heyer who is my all-time favourite author. She had wit and charm and a wonderful grasp of her subject. What can I say about her that hasn’t already been said? She brought that period in history to life for me and for so many others. In a way it took a lot of courage to write this book. It felt a bit like reaching for the stars. Georgette Heyer had done it before and done it better than anyone else in my opinion. But there was a compulsion which I couldn’t resist. I had to try.

What three words would you use to describe your protagonist, Phoebe Marcham?

Feisty, Engaging, Tenacious

How long did it take you to write your novel?

This was a joy to write for many reasons but way up there was the fact that it was always only ever going to be novella length. The main thread was in my head from the start and it just fell from my fingertips. It took something in the region of four months, though it’s over a year since I wrote it. It was submitted to and accepted by The People’s Friend as a pocket novel, which is why I have chosen for the first time to self-publish. My justification to myself was that if it was good enough for DC Thomson it was sufficient endorsement to go ahead.

Are you a pantster or do you plot?

Although I do plot more now than ever before, I am by nature a pantser. For instance, (and I’d be interested to know about your own experience in this field), when writing short stories I always have the beginning and the end. It’s getting from the one to the other that is a mystery until I start writing. In a way it’s similar with a novel, although I do try to have one or two sub-plots waiting in the wings. That said, something may come to me, seemingly from out of nowhere, and take me on its own sweet way. I have been known to write myself into a corner on occasions but mostly it works. The book takes on a life of its own and I go where it takes me.

Do you believe in writers’ block?

Am I allowed to say yes and no? I have suffered – oh how I have suffered – from staring at a screen in despair, wondering what on earth I was going to write next. But I believe these are the times just to get something written, anything written, in order to get things flowing again, even if it’s discarded later. Is that writers’ block? I don’t think so. It’s just a momentary lack of inspiration and that’s where the perspiration comes in.

You have written short stories for magazines. Do you prefer writing shorter or longer fiction?

Oh, both have their place in my heart. There’s a real joy in writing a short story. To create a world and resolve a conflict in a couple of thousand words is very satisfying. My short stories aren’t always happy ever afters but they’re always rewarding, for me anyway. That said, I don’t think anything beats the euphoria of completing a novel and, after however many edits, knowing you’ve done the best you can and told the story you want to tell. I never type ‘The End’. I know when it’s the end.

Is there anything you wish someone had told you before you embarked on a writing career?

Oh yes! I’d like someone to have said “Are you crazy? Don’t you know how hard this is?” But I’m glad they didn’t. I’m where I want to be.

What was the first book that made you cry?

There have been so many, I don’t remember which was the first. In many ways it’s like going to the movies. When I was younger I would bite my lip and either not give way to tears or at the very least hide them from my companions. It was the same with books. Nowadays I cry unashamedly, at films, at books, and even at some of my own stories.

What next for Natalie Kleinman?

I’d love to write another Regency. I’m hoping this one is well-received. In the meantime there is a plot in my head. I know the beginning. I know the end. I just have to get from the one to the other.

Thank you for hosting me on your blog, Wendy. I’ve enjoyed it so much.

At twenty-four years old, Phoebe Marcham is resigned to spinsterhood, unwilling to settle for anything less than the deep love her parents had shared. That is, until adventurer Duncan Armstrong rides into her home wood, larger than life and with laughter in his eyes and more charm in his little finger than anyone she’s ever met before. Far from ridiculing her family ghost, Duncan resolves to help solve the mystery which has left Simon Marcham a spirit in torment for two hundred years.

The Ghost of Glendale can be purchased here Amazon

Natalie is a published novelist and short story writer whose addiction to the books of Georgette Heyer and love of The Regency have been the inspiration for her latest book, The Ghost of Glendale. 

Working on the premise that you never stop learning, she goes to any and every writing event and workshop she can. In addition she attends The Write Place Creative Writing School in Hextable in Kent, one of the rewards for which is an abundant supply of cream cakes to celebrate the frequent successes of its students. 

Natalie is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association, The Society of Authors and the Society of Women Writers and Journalists. She lives with her husband in southeast London.

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Natalie's interview has been part of a blog tour organised by Rachel's Random Resources.